Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why aren't we talking about poverty?

Where were the discussions at Educon about poverty? I was shocked to see not a single conversation about what I consider to be the largest root cause of most of our education issues in the US. It seems like we're all busily attacking the effects of poverty instead of the causes. Why is the subject so often avoided? Because it's uncomfortable? Because the topic usually carries racial and cultural undertones to it? I just felt like Educon would be such a golden opportunity to really get some of these issues on the table in a respectful, intelligent way so that we can really make a difference in the lives of so many...

To me, we've got two main problems to address if we're going to seriously talk about improving schools in the USA:
1) Generational poverty
2) Boredom

I think we're doing a pretty damn good job of talking about the latter, but we've got too many crickets chirping on the former.

So my main thought going forward is that I'm going to put this topic out front and center with all you smart people and see if we can't make some real strides. I plan on trying to get some conversations going at ISTE this year as well as throughout the fall and then submitting a conversation about it for Educon next year, if I'm fortunate enough to make it back.


Mr. Chase said...

YES! I can't wait to see the proposal.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, Steve. I think we are really missing the boat here. It makes me sad that we know this is a serious issues and affects schooling, yet it continues to get pushed aside. I think as educators, we need to start this conversation and keep it in the light.

Jeffrey said...

I agree about silence on poverty. And recently there have been an number of research reports that blipped in the media and died. Inequality increasing. Concentration of wealth and income in top 5% increasing over past 25 years. Has anyone heard ANY politician talk about this?

edtechsteve said...

Jeffrey- no, the silence is deafening. I think one of the reasons that so many ignore poverty is because it quickly becomes a racial/cultural discussion- which of course is a big no-no in society and especially in media or politics, if you want to hang onto your job for long.

But sometimes the most difficult things to talk about are the things most needing discussion. I think that's definitely the case with this particular elephant in the room.